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Publication numberUS4828987 A
Publication typeGrant
Application numberUS 06/609,923
Publication dateMay 9, 1989
Filing dateMay 14, 1984
Priority dateMay 14, 1984
Fee statusPaid
Publication number06609923, 609923, US 4828987 A, US 4828987A, US-A-4828987, US4828987 A, US4828987A
InventorsJohn J. Kopchick, Frederick C. Leung, Thomas J. Livelli, Richard H. Malavarca
Original AssigneeMerck & Co., Inc.
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Avian retrovirus-bovine growth hormone DNA
US 4828987 A
Recombinant DNA molecules in which an avian retroviral long terminal repeat (LTR) has been ligated to the bovine growth hormone gene are described herein. The retroviral LTR was derived from a plasmid clone of a Schmidt Rupin strain of Rous Sarcoma Virus while the bovine growth hormone (BGH) gene was derived from a lambda-bacteriophage genomic library. Using a transient eucaryotic expression assay system, the plasmid constructs were screened for their ability to direct expression and secretion of bovine growth hormone. These constructs were co-transformed into a mammalian cell (mouse) culture in order to obtain a stable cell culture secreting large amounts of bovine growth hormone.
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What is claimed is:
1. Plasmid pBGH-4.
2. A mouse fibroblast cell line containing plasid pBGH-4.
3. The mouse fibroblast cell line BGH-4-3.
4. The mouse fibroblast cell line BGH-4-13.
5. A method of producing bovine growth hormone comprising introducing plasmid pBGH-4 into rat GH3 cells by DEAE-Dextran mediated transfection, and incubating the cells at 37 C. for about 120 hours.

The present invention is directed to the preparation and use of novel recombinant DNA molecules in which an avian long terminal repeat (LTR) is ligated to the bovine growth hormone (BGH) gene. Stable mouse fibroblast cell lines have been generated which contain the recombinant genetic material integrated into the mouse cell genome, and which are valuable for production of large amounts of biologically active BGH.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,405,712 describes the use of the LTR vector for activating the expression of a desired gene. Activation is achieved by (1) isolating tee desired gene; (2) ligating to the gene a vector comprising the LTR sequences from a retroviral provirus genome, thus providing a hybrid gene; (3) inserting the hybrid gene into a mammalian recipient cell using DNA transfection; and (4) screening the cells for the phenotype of the gene. The LTR vector can be linked to the gene of interest by conventional recombinant techniques and serves as a marker for identification and cloning of the gene by standard recombinant DNA cloning procedures.

The cloning and sequencing of the bovine growth hormone gene is described in the article Woychik et al., Nucleic Acids Research, Vol 10, Nov. 22, 1982, pp. 7197-7210, see also Keshet et. al., Nucleic Acids Research, Vol 9, Nov. 1, 1981, pp. 19-30. The nucleotide sequencing of a variety of avian retroviral LTRs is described by Bizub, Katz and Skalka, J. Virology, 49:557-565, Feb. 1984.


FIG. 1-A is the restriction map of the recombinant plasmid, pBGH-1. The plasmid (in pBR 322) contains the BGH structural gene sequence 5' flanking regions which usually contain the promoter and enhancer elements, as well as 3' flanking regions.

FIG. 1-B is the restriction map of the recombinant plasmid, pBGH-2. This plasmid is pBGH-1 without the BGH 5' flanking region.

FIG. 1-C is the restriction map of the recombinant plasmid, pBGH-3, also found in FIG. 2.

FIG. 1-D is the restriction map of the recombinant plasmid, pBGH-4.


Using recombinant DNA techniques, portions of the bovine growth hormone structural gene have been combined with eucaryotic regulatory regions of the Rous Sarcoma Viral genome to produce the novel materials herein designated as pBGH-3 and pBGH-4.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION Construction of Bovine Growth Hormone-Avian Retroviral DNA hybrids

We have obtained bovine growth hormone genomic DNA in a pBR322 plasmid (pBGH-1) Using recombinant DNA technology, the bovine growth hormone promoter element was removed from the structural gene. This subcloned plasmid lacking a promoter was termed pBGH-2 We have ligated an avian retroviral promoter element, i.e., a viral Long Terminal Repeat (LTR), to the bovine growth hormone structural gene. Ligation was performed at 2 distinct restriction enzyme cleavage sites found within a region of each DNA which encodes 5'-untranslated portions of their m-RNAs. These 5'-untranslated portions of the m-RNAs ("leader" sequences) are nucleotides located between the m-RNA cap site and the translation initiation codon. Bovine growth hormone and avian retroviral 5'-untranslated nucleotide sequences are comprised of 59 base pairs and 379 base pairs, respectively.

These novel plasmid clones have been named pBGH-3 and pBGH-4.

Construction of Recombinant Plasmid, pBGH-3

Plasmid DNAs (bovine growth hormone and Rous Sarcoma Virus) were transfected into E. coli RR1 cells. Clones were isolated and the plasmid DNAs amplified. The resulting DNAs were characterized using diagnostic endodeoxyribonuclease recognition sites based on restriction enzyme maps available for the original 0105 clones. We have termed these plasmids. pBGH-1 (plasmid bovine growth hormone-1) and pL397 (Rous Sarcoma Virus)

pBGH-1 (10 μg) was digested to completion with Bam HI and SalI. Two linear DNA fragments of 5.0 kb and 3.0 kb resulted. The fragments were separated by agarose gel electrophoresis (1% Seaplaque agarose). The larger fragment containing the bovine growth hormone gene was eluted from the gel. To insure purity, this DNA again was subjected to agarose gel electrophoresis (1% Seaplaque) and elution. Approximately 500 ng was recovered.

Rous Sarcoma virus clone pL397 was enzymatically cleaved with BamHI and the five resulting linear DNA fragments separated by agarose gel electrophoresis (1% Seaplaque). A linear fragment of 6.0 kb was eluted from the gel, enzymatically digested with SalI, and subjected to a similar agarose gel electrophoresis procedure. Approximately a 2.0 kb linear DNA fragment encoding the avian retroviral LTR (promoter) was purified Approximately, 500 ng of DNA was recovered.

Ligation of the viral DNA sequences to the bovine growth hormone gene occurred at the unique BamHI site. Viral sequences include the 3' portion of the `env` gene, the viral LTR, approximately 530 nucleotides of the viral leader sequence and 5' portion of the viral `gag` gene. Included in the bovine growth hormone segment of the recombinant plasmid are the 5' bovine growth hormone exons (shown in boxes) as well as μ500 5 base pairs found at the 3' terminus of the gene.

100 ng of DNA containing equimolar quantities of the above isolated DNA fragments were ligated for 1 hour at 22 C. Following transfection into E. coli RR1 cells, 100 colonies were isolated. Non-ligated control DNA preparations resulted in zero colonies.

Restriction enzymatic digestion analysis of this cloned DNA confirmed that the two segments of the above mentioned DNAs were joined, thus creating a new biological molecule. This molecule has been termed pBGH-3.

Construction of Recombinant Plasmid, pBGH-4

In order to alter pBGH-3 such that non-essential regions of the Rous Sarcoma derived DNA were removed, the following procedure was followed.

A large 7.0 kb linear DNA fragment derived from pBGH-3 by BSTEII and BamHI cleavage was purified by agarose gel electrophoresis. Following excision from the gel, the DNA was treated with E. coli DNA polymerase (Klenow large fragment) which resulted in the generation of molecules possessing flush termini. Ligation of these molecules and transfection into E. coli RR1 cells resulted in bacterial clones containing plasmid DNA similar to that of pBGH-3. However approximately 430 base pairs between the viral BSTEII and BamHI sites have been deleted. Restriction enzymatic digestion analysis of this cloned DNA confirmed that this non-essential region of the pBGH-3 had been removed. This plasmid has been designate pBGH-4.

Sequencing of pBGH-4

The DNA nucleotide sequencing of pBGH-4 was done in the following manner: pBGH-4- DNA (20 ng) was cleaved with EcoRI resulting in 3 linear DNA fragments of 4.3 kb, 2.15 kb, and 1.5 kb. The 2.15 kb DNA molecule was isolated by agarose gel electrophoresis (1% Seaplaque agarose). Following elution of the DNA from the agarose gel, the 5' protruding termini were labeled by addition of α-5'(32 P) dATP using E. coli DNA polymerase I (Klenow fragment). The 32 P labeled DNA molecule was cleaved subsequently with SmaI yielding 2 DNA molecules of 2.0 kb and 0.5 kb in size. The DNA molecule containing 2.0 kb was purified by agarose gel electrophoresis (1% Seaplaque agarose) and sequenced according to the procedure of Maxam and Gilbert Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 74: 560-564 (1977). The junction between the RSV-LTR and the bovine growth hormone gene was confirmed to be the predicted sequence: ##STR1##

Transient Assay for Screening Plasmid Constructs

We have also developed a rapid and sensitive transient assay system for the detection of bovine growth hormone by cultured rat GH3 cells transfected with plasmid DNA encoding bovine growth hormone, to quickly screen a variety of plasmid constructs for their ability to direct the synthesis of BGH. We have shown and confirmed that pBGH-4 directs the synthesis and secretion of bovine growth hormone by these cells.

The optimum conditions for the transient expression of bovine growth hormone by rat GH3 cells (ATCC 82.1) have been determined.

It has been reported in the literature that DNA transfection of cultured cells mediated by DEAE-Dextran is influenced by at least two parameters. They are (1) the concentration of DNA used in the experiment and (2) the length of time cells are exposed to the DEAE-Dextran-DNA complex. We have optimized our transient assay system in rat GH3 relative to these two parameters.

Briefly about 5.0105 rat GH3 cells were plated onto 35 mm tissue culture plates. Following overnight incubation, cells were rinsed with 2.0 ml culture fluid minus serum. 1.0 Ml of culture fluid minus serum containing a variety of concentrations of pBGH-4 DNA along with DEAE-Dextran (200 μg/ml) was added to the cells. Following incubation at 37 C. for a variety of time intervals, the DEAE-Dextran-DNA solution was removed and the cells rinsed two times with complete medium. Cells were incubated for 5 days with changes in cultured fluid at daily intervals. Bovine growth hormone was assayed in the culture fluid using a sensitive radioimmunoassay.

Using this assay, pBGH-4 directed detectable levels of bovine growth hormone, detectable at 48 hours and 72 hours post transfection. Increasing amount of DNA in the DEAE-DNA complex used per transfection resulted in a respective elevation in BGH secretion At 72 hours, cells exposed to 500 ng of DNA produced approximately 10 fold more (283.8 ng/ml) BGH relative to these exposed to 250 ng DNA, (30 ng/ml).

In a similar manner the amount of time to which the cells were exposed to the DEAE-Dextran-DNA mixture was altered. In this experiment, 250 ng of DNA was used in each transfection. Bovine growth hormone expression varied inversely with the duration of transfection time.

From these and other related experiments, and although results do vary from one set of experiments to another, it is concluded that pBGH-4 DNA directs the synthesis of detectable levels of bovine growth hormone by cultured rat GH3 cells following DEAE-Dextran mediated transfection.

The optimum amount of DNA used in these transfection experiments ranged from 250 ng to 500 ng per 5105 cells.

Time intervals of DEAE-Dextran-DNA exposure to GH3 cells between 30 minutes and 45 minutes are optimal for subsequent expression of bovine growth hormone.

Production of Mouse Cell Lines Secreting Bovine Growth Hormone

In order to produce a large amount of purified BGH protein, we generated cultured mouse fibroblasts secreting the BGH. This was performed by co-transforming mouse TK(-) L cells with Herpes Viral TK DNA and plasmid vectors capable of directing BGH expression as determined by our transient assay. After selecting for a TK(+) phenotype, plasmids encoding BGH will be present and active in directing the expression of Bovine Growth Hormone.

To 5105 mouse L cells (LTK-, APRT-) was added a complex of calcium phosphate precipitated DNA. Included in the complex was 10 μg of L cell (LTK-, APRT-) DNA, 10 μg of pBGH-4 DNA, and 100 ng of pTK5 DNA. Ten TK positive colonies were selected and subcultured. The amount of bovine growth hormone secreted into the culture fluid was determined. Culture L-BGH-4-3 is secreting about 3.0 μg BGH per 5106 cells, per 24 hours.

In order to generate a mouse cell line which secrete a larger quantity of BGH, an alternative approach was performed. The protocol involves cotransformation of mouse-L-cells (TK-, APRT-) by a plasmid DNA which encodes the APRT gene and a truncated TK gene, PdLAT-3, (Robert & Axel, 1982) along with plasmid pBGH-4 DNA. Results from these types of cotransformation experiments have revealed that plasmid DNA involved in the cotransformation are amplified within the mouse cell following transfection. Amplification of the plasmid DNA results in a corresponding amplification of gene product (+).

Briefly, 5105 cells are cotransformed, using the CaPO4 method above, with PdLAT-3 (20 ng) and P-BGH-4 (2 μg) DNA. The cells are first selected in DME plus 10% CS plus 4 μg/ml azaserine, plus 15 μg/ml adenine for selection of the APRT+ phenotype. These APRT+ cells are then selected in DME plus 10% CS plus 15 μg/ml hypoxanthine plus 1 μg/ml aminopterin plus 5.15 μg/ml thymidine for selection of the TK+ phenotype. The APRT+, TK+ cells are subsequently screened for their ability to secrete BGH. Twenty stable positive colonies were selected and subcultured. The amount of BGH secreted into the culture fluid was determined. Culture L-Pdl)-BGH-4-13 is secreting 75 μg BGH per 5106 cells per 24 hours.

BGH produced by these cells can be purified as known in the art and used as desired, e.g., as a growth stimulant in animals, see EPO 0085036, Monsanto, and EPO 0068646, Upjohn.

Two mouse L-cell lines stably transformed with pBGH-4 DNA and expressing large amounts of BGH as well as plasmids pBGH-3 and pBGH-4 have been deposited at the ATCC, and are available to be public upon the grant of a patent to the assignee, Merck & Co. Inc., disclosing these. These deposits are also available as required by Foreign Patent laws in countries wherein counterpart applications are filed. The deposit numbers are ATCC CRL-8536 and ATCC CRL-8537, for the mouse cell cultures BGH-4-13 and BGH-4-3, respectively, deposited May 1, 1984; and ATCC 39674 and ATCC 39675 , for pBGH-3 and pBGH-4, respectively.

These tissue cultures can be grown in large scale production systems, using techniques known in the art, in order to produce large quantities of the bovine growth hormone. Media, times of incubation, methods of isolating and purification are all familiar to those skilled in the art. For example, purification to obtain crystalline BGH, for use in the cattle industry or for research purposes, can be done by following the procedures, or obvious modifications thereof, given in the article entitled "Purification of Anterior Pituitary Hormones: Bovine, Rat and Rabbit", by L. E. Reichart, Jr., appearing in the book "Methods of Enzymology," vol 37, at p. 360. The book, published in 1975, is available from Academic Press, N.Y.

The use of BGH is disclosed in Machlin, (1973), J. Dairy Science 56: 575-580; C. J. Peel, et al., J. Nutr. (1981), 111(9) 1662-1671; see also EPO application 85036, published Aug. 3, 1983.

Although this invention has been described in terms of bovine growth hormone production, we also contemplate that it encompasses the use of the Rous sarcoma LTR, as fully enabled in U.S. Pat. No. 4,405,712, as a promoter or enhancer in directing gene expression in any eukaryotic cells. Examples of the proteins, in addition to BGH to which the methodology of this application to applicable include human serum albumin, human interferons, human antibodies, human insulin, blood clotting factors, human growth factors, brain peptides, enzymes, prolactin, viral antigens, and plant proteins. The gene to be expressed may be derived from a plant or animal. Particularly useful proteins include human growth hormone gene(s), and poultry growth hormone gene(s).

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Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US5175099 *May 11, 1990Dec 29, 1992Research Corporation Technologies, Inc.Retrovirus-mediated secretion of recombinant products
US5354674 *Oct 29, 1992Oct 11, 1994Creighton UniversityMethod of gene transfer using retrotransposons
US5378806 *May 12, 1992Jan 3, 1995Research Corporation Technologies, Inc.Genetic engineering
US5585254 *Apr 2, 1993Dec 17, 1996University Of Colorado Foundation, Inc.Autonomous parvovirus gene delivery vehicles and expression vectors
US5879933 *Jun 30, 1994Mar 9, 1999Nature Technology CorporationMammalian Retrotransposons
US5985611 *Apr 30, 1992Nov 16, 1999Washington UniversityCulturing animal cells; transformation with gene expression; recovering
US6027722 *Mar 14, 1994Feb 22, 2000Nature Technology CorporationVectors for gene transfer
US6287863Nov 9, 1995Sep 11, 2001Nature Technology CorporationMethod of transferring a DNA sequence to a cell in vitro
WO1990014355A1 *May 16, 1990Nov 29, 1990Res Corp Technologies IncRetrovirus-mediated secretion of recombinant products
WO2001042444A2 *Dec 8, 2000Jun 14, 2001Ariad Gene Therapeutics IncMethods for expression of genes in primates
U.S. Classification435/69.4, 435/357, 435/91.41, 435/91.42, 435/320.1, 435/317.1, 435/455
International ClassificationC07K14/61, C12N15/90, C12N15/867
Cooperative ClassificationC07K14/61, C12N15/90, C12N2740/11043, C12N15/86
European ClassificationC12N15/86, C12N15/90, C07K14/61
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Mar 18, 1988ASAssignment
Effective date: 19840509